Romans 9:14-24

Talks for Growing Christians

Questions Raised Concerning the Doctrine of God’s Sovereignty

Romans 9:14-24

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Lesson Number 28

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God's sovereign choice does not make God unfair.
  2. God's sovereign choice does not put God at fault.

Practical Application

  1. Let God be God


  1. Why is Romans 9, the doctrine of election, one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible?
  2. Why is the human mind reluctant to give God the first and the last word concerning our destinies?
  3. What is the teaching of Ephesians 2:1-2?
  4. Who must make the first move if someone is to be saved?
  5. Is there unrighteousness with God because He chooses some for salvation and does not choose others?
  6. Was God unfair to harden Pharaoh's heart? (Romans 9:17-18)


  1. It is not difficult because of what is being taught, but because it's hard for the human mind to submit to what is being taught.
  2. Because we are convinced that in our own human moral strength and natural love for goodness we would have chosen God and have come to faith on our own.
  3. Apart from Christ every human being is dead in trespasses and sins, and walking according to this Satanic world system.
  4. God.
  5. See Romans 9:14-16. The key word is "mercy" (quoted from Exodus 33:19). God showed mercy to the people after the golden calf incident. God would have been just and righteous and fair in wiping out the whole nation for their gross sins of immorality and idolatry, but He showed mercy. The same is true for us. We deserve nothing but the wrath of God, but in His mercy, He chose some to be saved.
  6. No. See Exodus 4:21 and Exodus chapters 5-14. Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and God allowed it. If God does not choose to act in mercy, and leaves the person to his own choice, his heart will be hardened. This does not make God unfair.


  1. Review Romans 9:15-16 and Exodus 33:19, and consider God's mercy both then and now.
  2. Consider the illustration of the potter and the clay (Romans 9:21-24). Does this help you to understand God's sovereignty with human lives?


  1. Do you have difficulty in letting God be God? Remember that there is the doctrine of man's responsibility as well as the doctrine of God's sovereignty. God answers prayer in reference to the unsaved. What is your part in this?

Key Verses

  • "Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!" Romans 9:14
  • "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy..." Romans 9:15
  • "It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." Romans 9:16, 18
  • "I have praised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Romans 9:17
  • "Indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?" Romans 9:20

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